304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
How Many Dairy Cows Per Acre?
How many acres does a dairy cow need? A rule of thumb for dairy operations is 1.5 to 2.0 acres per cow, which includes the youngstock.
How many acres do you need for 200 cows? You will need 5 acres/cow-calf pair. of pasture for most normal seasons. This past year 7 ac/cow would have been better. If you are using your irrigated ground for hay you have 700 ac of pasture.
How much land do you need for 1 cow? The pasture or range acreage needed for each cow is 10 to 12 acres per year. Pasture costs will vary, depending on the location.
American average is 1.8 cows per acre, based on this count, about 8–10 cows could be raised on five acres.
It is surprising how quickly a cow or two can eat down a small pasture. However, you will need to purchase hay to feed them because one acre is not enough land to support anything bovine. Cows can indeed be kept on small plots—an acre or two—but they must be fed.
While some cows can sustain many of their needs on grass alone, they are usually the non-lactating cows (i.e., cows that aren’t producing milk). A lactating dairy cow has a high metabolism, and is very similar to a marathon runner or high performance athlete.
As a very rough estimate, anecdotal evidence suggests that around 70 dairy cattle or 150 beef cattle is enough to earn a full-time living from farming, although many farmers have several income streams and are not solely reliant on cows.
If eating the meat of dairy cows seems like an obvious and economical old-world custom, one merely lost in the rise of quick-to-market factory farming of America, it’s surprisingly not. Even in Europe, eating the meat from dairy cows, which typically have less meat on them, is rare.
If a typical stocking rate for native range is 25 acres per animal unit, then 100 acres might support only four animal units, assuming all 100 acres produce grass and are grazable. It is not economically feasible to own a bull for fewer than 10 to 15 cows.
They list labor requirements at 8 hours per beef cow for calves sold and 10 hours per cow for calves fed out. If you figures 2200 hours in a year, at 8 hours per cow one person could handle 275 cows,” Lattz says.
The good news is: It is possible to leave bulls with the cows year-round and still maintain a calving season of three months or less.
It is okay to have just one cow, but many argue that it is cruel to keep one cow all by itself. Cows are social animals and enjoy having company, preferably of the farm animal variety. In a herd, cows will groom one another, graze in an ever-moving group, and lay with one another when they rest.
The average net return favored the high-profit group as they exceeded the overall average by $96.51 per cow to finish the 11-year period with an annual profit of $152.42 per cow. When calculated over the 11 years, this amounts to an additional $1,061.61 of profit per cow.
For the homesteader or hobby farmer Nick offers this advice: “Depending upon your needs and goals, you could start out as small as 5 or 6 acres if you were just raising a couple cows for you and your family.”
Five acres may not sound like a lot of land, but many farmers have been successful at making a living on 1 acre and 2 acres, and even less land than that. It takes careful planning, creativity, and hard work, but it can be done.
A hobby farm is categorized as less than 50 acres. Anything between 50 to 100 acres is considered a small-scale farm.
“Consider that the average small commercial operation requires two to three acres per cow/calf compared to my one acre per cow/calf: where I use 14 acres of pasture for my one bull and 13 cows, a conventional cattle operation requires at least 26 acres of pasture,” Mr. Viljoen said.
Cattle need only minimal shelter. During calving it is nice to have a place where the cow and newborn calf can get out of the elements for a day or two. It is good to have a place where they can find shade in hot weather and wind break from the cold.
This means you just need around four acres for your entire cow-herd for that grazing season for good to excellent pasture. If you want to divide your pasture into quadrants, that means dividing it up into one acre quadrants for your animals to graze in for that grazing season.
Some common cool-season perennial grasses suitable for grazing include orchard grass, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass. Warm-season grasses are more efficient at gathering carbon dioxide while using less water, which is why they can be more productive during hot, dry weather.
Australia is now home to some of the world’s most expensive cattle. Pregnant cows, worth $1,200 a head in northern New South Wales three years ago now have a $2,000 price tag, while heifers have gone from $350 a head to $800 in three years.
Cattle ranches are historically relatively safe in the larger ecosystem of real estate. They’re a good investment now because prices are rising both for cattle and the property on which to raise cattle, the economy is growing and projected to continue growing, and the market for cattle is on track with this growth.
Generally speaking, dairy cows are more likely to be culled for one of the noted reasons than beef cattle. Typically, a beef cow is culled because of one (or more) of the three O’s: she is open, ornery or old, or because of environment reasons (drought).
Beef cattle are generally the most profitable and easiest livestock to raise for profit. The resulting half-bred offspring are useless to the dairy industry, but they make fine cattle to raise for beef. You can buy directly from dairy farms or at local auctions.